Editorial note: We have raised the money for Raymond’s dog, but I still encourage folks to donate to North Star Dogs. Its a great cause.

RaymondGlasses

Dear readers,

Happy holidays! This holiday season we are asking for your support in a very important gift – to sponsor the placement of a service dog in the Nelson family. As you know, Raymond has autism. What you do not know is that he was recently cleared for the placement of a service dog bred and trained by the North Star Foundation. His assigned puppy will be born in early 2011. However, in order for the placement to occur it is crucial we raise the necessary funds in the coming months. Our target is $5,000. The high cost of placement is due to the nature of the intensive and specific training each North Star dog receives, along with the considerable follow up services they provide.

North Star Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with special needs through the use of well-bred and trained assistance dogs. They have been incorporated for ten years and have made over 100 North Star placements in homes of children who face social, emotional and educational challenges around the country. Over half of the children they serve are on the autism spectrum. Their nonprofit work with children on the autism spectrum was profiled in Autism Spectrum Quarterly’s spring edition (www.asquarterly.com). You can also learn more about North Star by visiting their website at www.NorthStarDogs.com and/or viewing a video at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=northstarvids.

A recent study was recently released documenting the tremendous effect service dogs have on the lives of children with autism. The dogs reduce stress, which the study measured in cortisol. Stress and anxiety are huge barriers for kids on the spectrum, and alleviating that stress leads to a reduction in autistic behaviors and more normal interaction. The dog makes a profound difference in the life of the child, and consequently, the family. The full study was published in the September issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. You can read an article on the study at Disability Scoop.

Please consider making a donation to support the placement of Raymond’s service dog. Your donation to the North Star Foundation can be applied directly to his placement. If possible we would like donations to be made by December 31st. All donations to North Star are tax deductible (EIN # 06-1589586). Your check or money order should be made out to North Star Foundation and sent to

North Star Foundation
c/o Patty Dobbs Gross
20 Deerfield Lane
Storrs CT 06268.

You can also make a PayPal donation via this donation page on their website. If you use Paypal please email North Star with your confirmation number and let them know the donation is for Raymond. Additionally please let us know of your donation so that we can properly thank you for your support.

We are extremely excited about the immeasurable benefits Raymond will receive with this placement and are truly grateful for your support to make this happen. We’ll certainly keep you informed of Raymond and his puppy’s progress in the coming months as I plan to blog about it! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at raynelsonrealtor@gmail.com. We hope this post finds you and yours happy and healthy this holiday season, and we hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you

Ray, Kelly and Raymond

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